By Danielle Smith
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford students will soon be seeing an addition to each of their classrooms in the form of a wall mounted safety kit. At the Sept. 10 board of education meeting, officials voted to accept a bid by PrePlanLive, giving the local company the task of installing these safety kits as well as mobile panic buttons.
A major portion of the funds for the new additions came from a Michigan State Police (MSP) Safety Grant that the district was awarded back in the spring. Oxford was one of 135 public school districts chosen to receive part of a $25 million grant focused on school safety.
“We received a little over $442,000 . . . so when we applied for the grant, I had to basically provide projects that were approved by the MSP grant…and these were among several that (the school board) felt were very important in the district,” said Sam Barna, assistant superintendent of business and operations.
The wall-mounted safety kits and mobile panic buttons would be used as a tool if a serious and/or dangerous situation arose.
“From what we’ve learned in these types of emergency situations, especially when you’re dealing with, God forbid, an active shooter, many people cannot just think logically because they are under stress,” Barna said. “In that type of situation, some people can’t even think to dial 9-1-1, so we wanted to try and make it as easy as possible to contact local authorities and also be able to be location specific within a building.”
The panic buttons are mobile devices that look similar to a key fob with one button on it, Barna said. With the help of receivers, transmitters and beacons, the location of the activated key fob can be easily found.
The safety kits are similar to a “Stop the Bleed” kit. “(The kits) includes gauze…two Rapid Application Tourniquet Systems (RATS), (that) are a specific type of tourniquet that can be used on little children as well as adults,” Barna said. There will be a mobile panic button either within the see-through kit or attached to it. A safety kit will be installed in each classroom and every major room within every school owned by the district.
Since the board recently approved the bid, there is not a set date as to when the installation process will begin.
However, Barna hopes to see the process begin around winter.
With 75 percent of the funding coming from the MSP Safety Grant, the school district will owe $42,710 for the wall-mounted safety kits and $350,900 for the mobile panic buttons. The 25 percent that the district is responsible for will come out of its capital project fund.
Once installation is complete, Barna said there will be district-wide training on how to use the safety kits as well as the mobile panic buttons. To a degree, students will eventually learn how to use these devices as well.
“We definitely want everyone to know why they are there and what they are for,” Barna said. “We want to try and prevent misuse as well.”
The school district has until June 1, 2020 to spend the grant money.